Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση


That the whole coinpany of barber-sur- Th'abused theatres. They would think it geons

strange, now, Should not take off, with all their art and A man should take but colts-foot for one plaisters.

day, And these my prints should last, still to be And, between whiles, spit out a better poem read

Than e'er the master of art, or giver of wit, In their pale fronts; when, what they write Their belly, made. Yet, this is possible, 'gainst me

If a free inind had but the patience, Shall, like a figure drawn in water, fleet, To think so much together, and so vile. And the poor wretched papers be employ'd But that these base and beggarly conceits To clothe tobacco, or some cheaper drug. Should carry it, by the inultitude of voices, This I could do, and make them infanious. Against the most abstracted work, oppos'd But, to what end? when their own deeds To the stutl'd nostrils of the drunken rout! have mark'd'em ;

0, this would make a learn'd and liberal soul And that I know, within his guilty breast To rive his stained quill up to the back, Each slanderer bears a whip that shall tor- And damn his long-watch'd labours to the

ment him Worse than a million of these temporal Things that were born when none but the plagues :


still night, Which to pursue, were but a feminine hu- And his dumb candle, saw his pinching And far beneath the dignity of man.

throes: Nas. 'Tis true; for to revenge their in- Were not his own free merit a more crown juries,

Unto his travails than their reeling claps? Were to confess you felt 'em. Let 'em go, This 'tis that strikes me silent, seals my lips, And use the treasure of the fool, their And apts me rather to sleep out my tiine, tongues,

Than I would waste it in contemned strifes Who makes his gain, by speaking worst of With these vile Ibides, these unclean birds, best.

That make their mouths their clysters, and Pol. O, but they lay particular imputations

From their hot ontrails. But I leave the Aut. As what?

monsters Pol. That all your writing is mere railing. To their own fate. And since the comic Aut. Ha! if all the salt in the old comedy

[try Should be so censur'd, or the sharper wits Hath prov'd so ominous to me, I will Of the bold satire termed scolding rage, If tragedy have a more kind aspect ;'' What age could then compare with those Her favours in my next I will pursue, for buffoons ?

Where if I prove the pleasure but of one, What should be said of Aristophanes, So he judicious be, he shall b' alone Persius, or Juvenal? whose names we now A theatre unto me: once I'll’say, So glorify in schools, at least pretend it. To strike the ear of timc in those fresh Ha they no other?

strains, Pol. Yes, they say you are slow,

As shall, beside the cunning of their And scarce bring forth a play a year.

ground, Aut. 'Tis true.

Give cause to some of wonder, soine deI would they could not say that I did that.


(sound. There's all the joy that I take i’ their trade, And unto more despair to imitate their Unless such scribes as these might be pro- I, that spend half my nighls, and half iny


still purge




Since the comic muse Hath prod'd so ominous to me, I will try

If tragedy hare a more kind uspect.] But the aspect of the tragic muse, it is said, was so little favourable to the poet when in buskins, that even in the choice of his subject he failed: Sejanus and Catiline are historical characters so well known, that no distress wbich befalls them can possibly raise any kind of pity, the chiefest and noblest passion belonging to tragedy, in the breast of the beholder. But pity is not the only passion, which the tragic poet is concerned with. To excite dread and terror in the mind of the spectator is equally the design of tragedy, with raising the softer and more tender emotions of the heart. Wickedness and guilt, when they are represented to an audience, should naturally create no other sensations but those of fear and horrour; and the catastrophe should be designed as a monitory lesson, to deter others from perpetrating the like crimes. Our poet is not singular in the choice of his subjects. One of them bas lately been exbibited.on a stage, that is no way famous for presenting scenes of cruelty to the beholder. The rival wits of France, monsieur Crebilon in his Catilina, and inonsieur Voltaire in his Rome saudé, have actually pitched on the same event with Jonson, in their contest for the dramatic laurel,

[blocks in formation]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

"LIUS Sejanus, son to Seius Strabo, a gentleman of Rome, and born at Vulsinium ; that favour with the latter, and won him by those arts, as there wanted nothing but the name to make hi a co-partner of the empire. Which greatness of his, Drusus, the emperor's son, not brooking; after many smother'd dislikes, it one day breaking out, the prince struck him publicly on the face. To revenge which disgrace, Livia, the wife of Drusus, being before corrupted by him to her dishonour, and the discovery of her husband's counsels) Sejanus practiseth with, together with her physician called Eudemus, and one Lygdus an eunuch, to poison Drusus. This their inhumane act having successful and unsuspected passage, it emboldeneth Sejanus to further and more insolent projects, even the ambition of the empire ; where finding the lets he must encounter to be many and hard, in respect of the issue of Germanicus, (who were next in hope for the succession) he deviseth to make Tiberius' self his means, and instils into his ears many doubts and suspicions, both against the princes, and their mother Agrippina; which Cæsar jealously hearkening to, as covetously consenteth to their roin, and their friends. In this time, the better to mature and strengthen his design, Sejanus labours to marry Livia, and worketh (with all his ingine?) to remove Tiberius from the knowledge of public business, with allurements of a quiet and retired' life; the latter of which, liberius (out of a proneness to lust, and a desire to hide those unnatural pleasures which he could not so publicly practise) embraceth: the former enkindleth his fears, and there gives him first cause of doubt or suspect towards Sejanus : against whom he raiseth (in private) a new instrument, one Sertorius Macro, and by him underworketh, discovers the other's counsels, his means, his ends, sounds the affections of the senators, divides, distracts them : at last, when Sejanus least looketh, and is most secure, (with pretext of doing him an unwonted honour in the senate) he trains him from his guards, and with a long doubtful letter, in one day hath him suspected, accused, condemned, and torn in pieces by the rage of the people.


For the succession.] These words, wanting in the edition of 1605, were added by the poet, to complete the sense.

. With all his INGINE.] From the Latin ingenium; it was spelt in this manner by the writers of that age.

RETIRED life.] The quarto reads separated. * By the rage of the people.] After this, the quarto has the following : “ This do we " advance, as a mark of terror to all traitors, and treasons; to shew how just the heavens " are, in pouring and thundering down a weighty vengeance on their unnatural intents even “ to the worst princes; much inore to those, for the guard of whose piety and virtue the “ angels are in continual watch, and God himself miraculously working.'

This seems to have been added, in compliment to K. Janies, on the discovery of the powder-plot.


[merged small][ocr errors]





[ocr errors]

SCENE, Rome.

. Titius Sabinus

, hail.

A CT 1.
Sabinus, Silius, Natta, Laliaris, Cordus, Us dear to the pale authors; or live fear'd

Satrius, Arruntius, Eudemus, Haterius, Of their still waking jealousies, to raise

Ourselves a fortune, by subverting theirs.
We stand not in the lines, that do advance

To that so courted point.
Sil, .

Sil. But yonder lean
You're rarely met in court !

A pair that do.
Sab. Therefore, well met.

Sab. Good cousin Latiaris.) [Natta, Sil. 'Tis true: indeed, this place is not Sil. Satrius Secundus, and Pinnarius our sphere.

The great Sejanus' clients : there be two, Sub. No, Silius, we are no good ingineers. Know more than honest counsels: whose We want their fine arts, and their thriving

close breasts,

[found use,

(times : Were they rip'd up to light, it would be Should make us grac'd, or favour'd of the A poor and idle sin, to which their trunks We have no shift of faces, no cleft tongues, Had not been made fit organs. These can No soft and glutinous bodies, that can stick,

lye, Like snails on painted walls; or, on our Flatter and swear, forswear, deprave, inform, þreasts,

(which Smile, and betray; make guilty men; then Creep up, to fall from that proud height, to

beg We did by slavery, not by service climb. The forfeit lives, to get their livings; cut We are no guilty men, and then no grea Men's throats with whisperings; sell to gaWe have no place in court, office in state,

ping suitors

(palace; That we can say, we owe unto our crimes : The empty smoke, that flies about the We burn with no black secrets, which can Laugh when their patron laughs; sweat make

when he sweats;
OR painted walls.] Sense, and the old copies direct us to read on.

A poor and IDLE sin.] That is, barren, unprofitable.—Mr. Sympson.
The word is so used by Shakspeare,

“Of antres vast, and desarts idle." Othello.
So in the first chapter of Genesis, “ The earth was without form, and void,” is rendered
in the Saxon, “ The earth was jdæl.”

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »